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Microsoft had begun to combine the app-count of both the Windows and Windows Phone stores a while ago, and when we check the numbers now, we can see that there is an increase. The combined app store now has a total of 585,000 apps, all though I’d say this number has risen by a bit. While there may be a bit of an overlap between the two stores, I’d imagine the app store and Play store suffer from this as well with the further addition of *lite* and *pro* apps to replicate the native trial functionality developers enjoy on Windows.
Breaking out the app count is quite trivial, there is a website that allows you to see how many apps there are in the Windows 8 store here. As of writing this, there were 194k apps. (193k yesterday). Subtracting this number from the combined total gives a number of 391k apps, and that’s assuming the Windows Phone store has stayed static (spoiler alert- it hasn’t)
SO I’m going to go ahead and speculate that the Windows Phone store is hovering somewhere between 395, 000 – 400, 00 apps. Guess what, that’s still not a bad number. Although certain apps have been stagnated, and some important apps have been pulled, others hand been added, updated and even some banking apps like the UK Barclays apps have been guaranteed to not be abandoned by their developers.
App discoverability still sucks
I wrote about my experience using the Windows Phone store for a week, I complained about the lack of a good WordPress app. In the comments it was pointed out to me that there was actually a useful WordPress app in the store that I could download. The app was literally called WordPress, I searched the term WordPress (the actual name of the app) in the appstore and nope. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Both the phone app store and the web interface have a terrible issue with searching and surfacing things usefully (unless the app was hidden from store search for whatever reason). However, I discovered a workaround for searching the Windows Phone app store for apps. If you go to Google, and filter all your results to Windowsphone.com/en-us/store you are suddenly presented with a much more useful list of results. Sad as it may be, Google is better than Microsoft at searching its own store.
I’ve written about how the appstore obscures useful apps here and how developers play the algorithms here and I now think that the Windows Phone store may get its reputation of being a crap repository from its search algorithm. The best apps may be obscured as disreputable developers abuse the app store algorithm,. Will Microsoft’s new store address this? Who knows, I’d imagine they would want to clean the app store a bit more, hide the dross deeper down as well.
On the bright side, the Windows stores are still growing, and may actually reach about 700k by the time Windows 10 fully launches. When the dialogue turns to the Windows app situation, people do often love to pick the dark clouds out of the silver linings, let’s just try to remember that the clouds may not always be as dark as they appear.